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  • Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    The buildings at Disney-MGM Studios (soon to become Disney’s Hollywood Studios) look authentic because they’re based on real buildings in and near the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. For this article, I picked five buildings at the Studios park in Florida and photographed their Los Angeles counterparts last week.

    Please discuss it here.

    I've had more trouble identifying the buildings on Sunset Blvd. at Disney-MGM Studios (except for the movie theaters). Any ideas?

    Also, I'd like to do a similar article about the Hollywood Pictures area at Disney's California Adventure some day. The Hyperion Theatre is based on the Los Angeles Theatre on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. The facade next to it seems to be from the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The building diagonally across from the Hyperion is based on the Baine Building on Hollywood Boulevard. The former Soap Opera Bistro is the ABC radio studio on Vine Street. The restroom are based on Frank Lloyd Wright's textile block houses, but I can't identify a specific house. Any other additions to this list?
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  • #2
    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    More!! More!! I love the DMGMS architecture and its SoCal counterparts. Thank you Werner. Please expand on this on a future post. Items you could include; Pan Pacific Auditorium, Carthay Circle Theater, Graumans Chinese Theater.
    sigpic
    When attractions were original

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    • #3
      Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

      Great stuff! Simply fascinating!

      I gotta hand it to the imagineers, they did a fantastic job in re-creating the look and feel of Hollywood in The Studios.
      Imagineering by Grumpyfan

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      • #4
        Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

        Very interesting read. You never fail to impress, Werner!

        Thanks!

        Photos, news, and commentary every week from Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!

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        • #5
          Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

          I am a big fan of your site and these articles for MiceAge. Very educational and entertaining. The kind of stuff true Diznoids can drive others nuts with...lol

          Reading this article I found something rather humerous with the Crossroads. The original inspiration was the anchor for a shopping mall. Perhaps the Imagineers are poking fun at their Hollywood Blvd. with D-MGM's Crossroads being an anchor for what really is a shopping mall. LOL

          -Justin

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          • #6
            Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

            I, too, would love to see more of this. Not just at MGM studios / Hollywood, but the real life inspirations for the buildings in all of the parks. Surely in Anaheim and beyond they must be taking their designs from real buildings all over the world to privide a sense of authenticy. I love being able to compare the photos side by side.
            "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by" (John Masefield)


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            • #7
              Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

              Werner,
              I have a good one for you-- it blows away the examples you've listed thus far (as good as those are -- and they are beautiful!). Did you know that the 'Twilight Zone Tower of Terror' at DisneyWorld is based upon an actual structure? Next time you are in Northern California, check out the unfinished rear portion of the William Randolph Hearst Castle at San Simeon. The first image below is of the Disney-built structure. The second is of Hearst Castle built decades earlier. Look to the right rear of the Castle (upper right of photo). I haven't found an image on the Web that gives a frontal view of that unfinished portion of the building but I have visited in person and when I first saw it on the evening tour I did a double take because of its similarity to the Disney building and realized that this is where the Disney architects must have gotten their ideas for the Terror ride.

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              • #8
                Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                Oops! The pics did not reproduce in the above comment. Here goes another try.

                'Twilight Zone Tower of Terror' at DisneyWorld:

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                  Fungible,
                  Are you able to post images of the Hearst Castle? I would love to see this comparison.

                  Justin

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                  • #10
                    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                    Here is the William Randolph Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA (see upper right rear unfinished portion).

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                    • #11
                      Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                      What a fantastic artical! It give yo an understanding of why the disney parks feel real but slighly exagerated. They too the best buildings from the era they are portaying and put them all together. It is the best of the best all in one spot! Thank you so much for the artical, it was very enjoyable. I hope there will be many followup articals about other locations inside the many parks.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                        Another great article, Werner! Thanks!

                        Dan

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                        • #13
                          Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                          This is a great comparison article, Werner! Great job!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                            Hi Werner - Great article. While the 6424 Santa Monica Blvd. Bldg. may not be known to a lot of people; the building is very well known to those of us who work in the post production industry.

                            This was the original home of 525 post production - which for many many years was the cream of the crop for TV post (a search of imdb proves to be grossly inadequate as it seems to only list Playboy shows and a few concerts, but rest assured they were the post facility behind much of what was on television in the 90's).

                            525 was one of the first true "high-end boutique" type post houses that offered the best editors along with a client service staff that waited on the clientele hand and foot, all in a comfortable "up-scale home" type of environment. It was gorgeous inside, well designed, colorful and relaxing. Being part of the parent company Virgin, Richard Branson had spared no expense on 525 (or it's sister facility in London: 625 / Rushes)

                            Unforunately Liberty Livewire, in a big corporate grab around 2000 / 2001 started snatching up post facilities around town like 525, Soundeluxe, Todd-AO and many others - merging the staffs, breaking up teams, closing facilities and otherwise ruining the entire post production scene in Los Angeles. We all know the drill - a bunch of MBA's staring at the bottom line and basing all decisions in a creative industry on capital gains - turning everything on it's head and destroying things that were fine just as they were. Think Pressler era Disneyland.

                            I think some version of 525 still exists (though merged with R!OT in Santa Monica).

                            One of my closest friends was a staff editor at 525 for a decade and I spent many a happy time in that building. And strangely enough - I've been to Disney / MGM several times - walked right past the replica - and never made the connection so Thanks Werner!
                            Last edited by Buzz Lite-Snack; 11-16-2007, 01:39 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                              It's really neat to see this kind of stuff, and to think about how much research the Imagineers did when building MGM, it really shows that they did their homework. Also, there's all the detail that they put into these as well. It's the kind of detail that the average tourists might not get, but they will surely "feel it", as if they've really stepped into part of Hollywood, whether they realize it or not.

                              What's more amazing is, to think that this was built during Eisner's reign when he was actually about building quality, lasting projects that could be considered true to the way Walt might have done it. Then, you contrast that with the end of his reign and the short-sighted wreck known as Disney's California Adventure. Ugh! It kinda makes you go, "huh, is this from the same guy?"

                              Sorry for bringing up Eisner, but, I just couldn't get around it.
                              Imagineering by Grumpyfan

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                              • #16
                                Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                                Excellent article, ranks up there as my favorite. Cheers!

                                Oh - the other day, I stumbled across a blog posting (with photos) of the real Hollywood Tower Hotel. San Simeon has always looked to me as more of a palpable inspiration, but thought you and your readers might fancy taking a look-see.

                                One of the comments, from a former tenant (the hotel was later converted into apartments) is especially notable:

                                "I lived ther when I first moved to Hollywood in 98.It was an experience that’s for sure! Lets just say after about 6mon. into living there I spent the next year and 6mon. sleeping with all the lights on Many other people experienced similar things and knew exactly what I was talking about. You only truly know if you have lived ther. It had great patios with amazing views. I could sit up there forever! I did enjoy living there…even though I never took the elevator and wouldn’t do laundry alone"

                                The Real Hollywood Tower Hotel

                                UPDATE: Recalled an older piece of Imagineering concept art that looks exactly like the Hollywood Tower Hotel: Early concept art

                                Here's another photo of the real hotel, you can see some of the sign in this one: Hollywood Tower with partial sign

                                Finally - the sign lit up at night: Hollywood Tower sign by night
                                Last edited by Flaming Monkey; 11-16-2007, 02:55 PM. Reason: Updated with yet another link
                                - Bill

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                                • #17
                                  Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                                  Thank you so much for the great article. I love looking at architecture and know that there is always a story behind every structure - especially at Disney.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                                    This was wonderful.. thanks!

                                    Is it just me... or does the "SCHMOOZIES" building in DCA look like the building in the lower right hand corner of the crossroads picture?

                                    "SCHMOOZIES" in DCA:


                                    Werner's picture from the yesterland article:
                                    Last edited by TheDude; 11-17-2007, 08:41 AM.



                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                                      Originally posted by Buzz Lite-Snack View Post
                                      Hi Werner - Great article. While the 6424 Santa Monica Blvd. Bldg. may not be known to a lot of people; the building is very well known to those of us who work in the post production industry.
                                      Thank you for the information about the post production company at 424 Santa Monica Blvd.

                                      I just wish I knew when the building was built, what its original use was, and who designed it.

                                      Originally posted by TheDude View Post
                                      Is it just me... or does the "SCHMOOZIES" building in DCA look like the building in the lower right hand corner of the crossroads picture?
                                      Great observation! Thank you. Now I wish I had taken a picture of that building from a different angle. (Maybe next year...)

                                      Also, thank you to everyone who commented on the article, "Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios," in this MiceChat thread. I had fun putting the article together. It gave me an excuse to drive around Los Angeles, which I haven't done in a long time. (I live in the Chicago area.)

                                      I'm planning another article that involves three theme parks and two defunct Los Angeles businesses. And I hope to do a "Real Buildings that Inspired the Hollywood Pictures section of California Adventure" article next year (but I need to come up with a shorter title).

                                      If I win the lottery, I'll do an article, "Real Buildings that Inspired World Showcase at Epcot." That would involve traveling to destinations in the eleven real countries represented in World Showcase. I think this article is highly unlikely.
                                      Werner Weiss
                                      Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

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                                      • #20
                                        Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

                                        So the ugly facades in DCA are based on real-world buildings, too?
                                        The Right Honorable Count Boogie Bonz of Random, at your service.

                                        On Track for Weight Loss!

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